Fractional Laser or Dermabrasion for Chin and Upper Lip Lines?

I am 64. I used to use Retin-A with great success for lines on chin. In recent years, it doesn't correct deep lines in chin and now starting to get them on upper lip. Know that the lines are result of the way my muscles are attached (genetic). Botox is not recommended as it would impair talking. What can be done about this? I have had conflicting views -- a dermatologist recommended fractional laser, and a plastic surgeon recommended dermabrasion. I'm very fair and I fear scarring. I hear that upper lip is most difficult to treat? Please let me know your opinion.

Doctor Answers 3

Dermabrasion vs Fractional resurfacing

This is a difficult question and I'm afraid no one has the definitive answer.

Dermabrasion has the potential to go deeper and be more effective. However, the deeper you go the more risk there is for scarring. In the hands of a skilled surgeon, this is not likely.

Fraxel is depth controlled but I have not been impressed with the wrinkle removal benefits. It does seem to improve surface texture and minor pigmentation irregularities.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews


The perioral "wrinkles" can be difficult to treat. Depending on the depth of the wrinkles, dermabrasion works the best. One or two treatments can result in significant improvement of the lines.

Mehryar (Ray) Taban, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Dermabrasion vs Fractional CO2 Laser

I use both fractional CO2 and Dermabrasion to treat the veritcal lip lines. In general, Dermabasion will give you a better result for the lines around the mouth, depending on if it is done correctly. Dermabrasion resurfaces the entire area around the lips and goes deep into the skin. Fractional CO2 lasers can go as deep (depending on the laser and laser settings), however they resurface only a small percentage of the skin. This is one of the reasons that a true Dermabrasion is better in treating the lip lines.

On the other hand, there is significantly more healing time and a high risk of permanent lightening of the skin around the mouth after Dermabrasion. This is because all of the skin is resurfaced. The benfit of the fractional laser is that there is less downtime and virtually no risk of losing pigment around your lip because of the principle of fractional therapy (only a smaller percentage of the skin is treated).

Determining what is best for you comes down to your type of skin (color), how deep your lines are, and your expectations. Consulting with a phyisician who has experience in both is your best bet to determine what is best for you.

Jacob D. Steiger, MD
Boca Raton Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.